Theme choices in translation and target readers' reactions to different theme choices

Mira Kim, Zhi Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper is primarily concerned with textual meaning in translation (i.e. the flow of text). Why do some translations not read as one piece of writing? Does it make any difference if translators start clauses in a translation with different experiential elements? If so, what impacts will such choices have on the flow of information in the translation? In this paper, we attempt to address such issues by analyzing Themes in different English translations of Chinese and Korean source texts. Firstly, we will present an analysis of Theme choices in three English translations of a Chinese short story. Secondly, we will discuss target readers’ reactions to two English translations of a Korean short story that are nearly identical except for a few Theme choices. We hope that our discussion stimulates more interest in the textual meaning of translations, which is an area that needs significantly more attention in translation studies (Baker 1992; House 1997; Munday 2000).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-111
Number of pages33
JournalT&I Review
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Theme analysis
  • translator’s choices
  • target readers’ response
  • Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • English translation from Chinese/Korean

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